Skin discoloration in patches is a symptom of the skin condition vitiligo. It happens when melanocytes, the cells in charge of pigmenting the skin, are destroyed or cease to function. Vitiligo is thought to be an autoimmune condition where the body's immune system targets and kills melanocytes, while its specific etiology is yet unknown.
Although there is no recognized treatment for vitiligo, there are methods that can help the skin's look. Topical corticosteroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors, NB-UVB phototherapy, excimer laser therapy, and depigmentation are among the available treatments. These procedures aim to lessen swelling, increase melanocyte production, or enhance the skin's look by whitening the surrounding skin. Skin grafting or tattooing may be options in specific circumstances.
Vitiligo, especially if the affected areas are visible, can result in emotional and psychological discomfort if left untreated. The depigmented skin may also be more susceptible to sunlight and skin cancer. Vitiligo sufferers should protect their skin from the sun and consult a doctor about treatment alternatives.